This Otterbox Symmetry vs Commuter review is going to help you decide on which case is better for your phone on your outdoor adventures. It’s no surprise when people reach for their phones and you see it nicely snug in an Otterbox case. The name has become synonymous with high-quality protection for most devices.For someone who loves hiking, you’d be concerned about what to wear on some of the best trails in the world. In the same vein, a phone case that keeps your devices protected at all times, especially when in the wild is a necessity. Some might even consider it an investment.While the brand is known for its bulky designs, they understand that this doesn’t float everyone’s boat. Ask anyone using an iPhone 7 plus or an 8 plus, they’d tell you they don’t want a case that makes their already big devices bigger. To answer your question on which Otterbox case is better, we will look at the main differences between each case, their features, possible alternatives, and the answers to any questions you might have about them.
Table of Contents
Main Differences Between Otterbox Symmetry vs Otterbox Commuter
The main differences between Otterbox Symmetry vs Otterbox Commuter are:
The Otterbox Commuter is a 2 layered phone case which gives it a bulky design, whereas the Otterbox Symmetry case is one layered and offers a more sleek design.
The Otterbox Commuter is only available in a series of block colors, whereas the Otterbox Symmetry gives room for a wider option of designs and colors.
The Otterbox Commuter comes with a lightning port cover, whereas the Otterbox Symmetry doesn’t come with this feature.
In terms of similarities, both cases are about the same size although the commuter is thicker than the symmetry. They both offer good drop protection and are both considered durable phone cases.
A Look at Otterbox Symmetry and Otterbox Commuter Features
Starting from the size of each case, both cases are fairly the same size. They will undoubtedly increase the thickness or size of your phone, but that comes with drop protection. And I think that’s worth some extra thickness or size.For those of us who are well in tune with our fashion senses, we understand that the looks of your phone case are as important as the protection it offers. Fortunately, both the Otterbox symmetry and Otterbox commuter pass the test in terms of aesthetics.The Otterbox Symmetry is a single-layered case that offers a wider option of design and color. The transparent designs are also a great way to show off your phone’s design and factory color if you don’t fancy phone cases so much. However, over time the clear parts of your case may begin to yellow. And there’s no way to clean it. This isn’t a problem for the block color designs.
The symmetry series consists of smooth cases that easily slip in and out of your pocket. While the bulkier, somewhat more textured commuter series is great for the extra grip they add to your phone. Making it less likely for you to drop your phone. However, it also makes it more difficult to grab from your pocket with ease.
Imagine having the perfect phone case that protects your phone from all sorts of falls, dust, and dirt. Perfect right? Now imagine if your phone case prevents you from using your phone as seamlessly as possible. You’d reconsider having your phone case at all because what use is its protection when you can’t use your phone.Fortunately, both the Otterbox symmetry and the commuter make using your phone with a case relatively stress-free. Due to its bulky size, the Otterbox commuter will give you some trouble reaching your phone’s buttons.The symmetry series offers less resistance when using your phone’s control buttons. Both phone cases allow you access to your charging port as well as your headphone jack. The Otterbox Symmetry allows for easy access to your phone screen as well.
And here we are, the golden section. Probably the only reason you’re even reading this review. How well does each case protect your phone? Understandably, you might assume that the bulkier Otterbox commuter would offer better protection, due to the number of layers it has.Well, you’re not far off. Compared to the Otterbox symmetry series, the commuter will offer more protection due to its double-layered design. Plus, its charging port cover is an added protection against dust and dirt.This isn’t to say that the symmetry series won’t do a good job of protecting your phone. It is great for protecting the back of your phone from scratches and shortfalls. It is also best suited for people who keep their phones in their pockets with items such as keys which could scratch their phone. The commuter series will offer greater protection in the long run.
One of the reasons for Otterbox’s popularity is its compatibility with most phones on the market. They are available for an impressive range of iPhones, Samsung devices, tablets, and iPads. You would have to be using an uncommon phone to struggle in finding a fit for yours.Some examples of phones compatible with the Otterbox symmetry and Otterbox commuter series include:
iPhone SE 2020
iPhone X, XS, and 11 pro
Galaxy S8, S9, and S9+llllll
Galaxy Note20 Ultra
Galaxy tablets and Apple iPads
While this is not nearly exhaustive enough, it should give you an idea of the type of phones that are compatible with these cases.
Getting your phone into an Otterbox Symmetry and Otterbox Commuter
Nobody wants a phone case that’s a headache to get on and off their phone. Getting your phone into each case is relatively easy and shouldn’t cause you any trouble. Once in the case, they are held snugly in place.
To install your Otterbox commuter:
Remove the outer shell from the inner shell
Place your phone in the inner shell
Then place your phone into the outer shell starting from the bottom
Be sure to ensure that the phone placement lapses with buttons and port openings
To remove your phone from its case, push your thumbs through the icon logo hole and use your fingers to pull back the top corners and support your phone out of the case.
To install your Otterbox symmetry:
Place your phone into the base sideways. Making sure your placement lapses with all button-holes and portholes
Press your phone into the case from the corner and along the sides
To remove your phone from the case, pull it away at the top corners, and gently peel it off your phone. And that’s it for getting your phone in and out of its case. Easy as ABC.
Price Difference Between Otterbox Symmetry and Otterbox Commuter
If we’re being honest, the price difference between the Otterbox symmetry series and the Commuter series, isn’t massive in any way.The difference in price between both cases comes down to what model phone you use. And possibly what brand as well. For example, cases for an iPhone X or an Apple iPad would cost more than a case for iPhone 6, 7, and 8 due to their size.Both phone cases are affordable and are worth the additional aesthetics they’ll add to your phone. Other cheaper cases are on the market, but the chances that they’ll offer the same amount of protection as these Otterbox cases are slim.
Pros and Cons
Relatively slim profile
More style options
Easy to put on and take off
Visible scratches over time
Clear parts yellow over time
Apple logo window
Variety of color options
Lightning port cover
Urban Amor Gear Trooper
This phone case is made by the well-known brand Under Armor. The Gear Trooper offers a wider range of features asides protecting your phone with four layers. It has a hidden pocket that allows you to store your wallet and some cash.It also has an oversized charging port that makes it compatible with all kinds of chargers. And finally, the phone case meets the military drop-test standard. UAG’s design allows you easy access to your phone’s control and ports. And are available in a myriad of vibrant colors. All for an affordable price.
Griffin Technology Survivor Extreme
Here’s a phone case that’s best described as rugged. It is perfect for anyone who is likely to drop their phones regularly on solid surfaces.Griffin’s Survivor Extreme is able to withstand an incredible 10 ft (3 meters) fall on a concrete floor. Not only that, but it is also able to get past wet conditions and even mud. Although the chances of dropping your phone in the mud are slim, knowing that your phone would be fine in such a case is relieving. And you guessed it, the phone case is designed to meet and surpass military standard drop-test.The phone case also comes with a built-in screen protector and a grip belt for your phone. Which is a feature popular amongst its users. If you don’t fancy keeping your phone in your pocket or holding it in hand, the grip belt gives you room to attach it to your backpack or belt for easy access.
Between the Otterbox Symmetry and Commuter, which is more durable?
Generally, Otterbox is a brand known for producing high quality and long-lasting phone cases. The symmetry series is designed for a sleek finish but they don’t skimp on protecting your phone. At their price level, they offer phone cases that are high quality and trusted for durability.
In terms of durability, we believe the commuter has an advantage over the symmetry series. Since it is designed for more heavy-duty usage it is bound to outlast its sleekly designed counterpart.
Does my Otterbox Symmetry or Commuter phone case come with a warranty?
Yes, it does. All Otterbox products are eligible for warranty replacements within one year of purchase from a verified retailer or outlet.
It is important to note that Otterbox warranty does not cover your phone screen. As there have been reports that several customers also ask for their phone screens to be replaced alongside a faulty phone case. Your phone’s warranty is handled by your phone company if purchased from a verified outlet.
Will my Otterbox Commuter or Symmetry case overheat my phone?
No, it won’t. Ideally, your phone shouldn’t produce any noticeable heat when charging. If it does, then it has an issue that should be resolved soon to protect your phone’s battery and battery life in the long run.
With that said, your Otterbox phone case, be it commuter or symmetry will have zero effect on your phone’s heating.
Are the Otterbox Symmetry and Commuter cases waterproof?
No, they aren’t. It is important to note that neither cases are waterproof. In fact, none of Otterbox’s cases provide waterproof protection to phones.
However, cases such as the Defender and the Commuter, offer dust protection that is well above average.
Our Verdict: Otterbox Commuter Vs Symmetry – Which is Better?
Both the Otterbox commuter and symmetry offer protection to a wide option of smartphones, but which does it better? The phone cases are reasonably priced and do not have any major differences in their prices. The price differences between the cases can be caused by what brand or size your phone is.For a cover that protects your phone from the rigors of the outdoors life such as hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, and the likes, the Otterbox commuter is the way to go.While both the Otterbox commuter and symmetry offer great protection from falls, the commuter offers a tad more protection than the symmetry does. This is thanks to its double-layer design. Not to mention its lightning port cover which protects your charging port from dust and dirt serves as an extra layer of protection.The major drawback of this series is its lack of creative options for users to choose from. It is only available in 2 toned solid colors that have already been pre-packaged by Otterbox. And also its bulkier design is a turn off for people who are looking for a sleek look. Remember earlier we mentioned that phone users of models such as iPhone 7 plus or 8 plus aren’t interested in making their devices any bigger.Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it is safe to say that the Otterbox commuter phone case is the perfect accessory for your phone when you’re communing with mother nature. Perfectly designed for heavy-duty usage at an affordable price.Further read:
From backpacking to cycling in the mountains, Jodie can help you stay in shape and pick the best outdoor gear, clothing, and footwear. She is a full-time blogger and is our go-to source for backpacking gear reviews, outdoor skills advice and information, destinations for backpacking, camping, and hiking, and a lot more.